"The Magic Of Summer" – Someday’s Dreamers: Summer Skies (anime) – 3/10 Flowers

There are no failures – just experiences and your reactions to them. ~Tom Krause

Genre: Drama/Fantasy/Romance

Review Status: Complete (12 Episodes/12 Episodes)

Licensed: No, this anime is not licensed in the US

Art/Animation: For about 75% of the time, they took pictures of various places in Japan, or even a few short clips of video, and animated the characters on top of them. You get to see some beautiful scenery, and somehow it works.

But maybe that’s because, with bargain-basement character designs and animation, anything would look good in comparison. The designs were simple and uninspiring- incredibly undetailed (though I seem to recall one close-up where you could read the Japanese on a coke can. Did they blow their budget on that?!). The designers would often pull cheap tricks- focusing on an inanimate object while the characters talked in the background. In many scenes the characters were in the distance, where their bodies turned into shapeless blob. I thought they bore a strong resemblance to the star-people in Howl’s Moving Castle, but that isn’t a compliment. The animation is also incredibly jerky, with hardly a smooth motion to be seen. If you liked the animation style and overall quality of the original, I’m sorry- this will be a BIG step down.

Dub Vs. Sub: There is no dub for this.

Summary: Sora wants to be a mage like her father was. So to get licensed, she travels to Tokyo, attends classes, and practices her magic, bringing hope and light into her customers’ and classmates’ lives.

Review: As a fan of the original Someday’s Dreamers, and decently fond of the sequel ~Spellbound~, I figured that picking up and seeing this title might be a good addition to my own little fandom. I regret it with every fiber of my being.

What helped perk up the sorry animation and complimented the scenery was the music. The opening song was appropriate for the general feeling of the first eight episodes- bright and perky. But since low budget is the name of the game, most of the time there is no background music, just every day noises (you know, birds chirping, traffic noise, etc). But when there is background music (usually in the form of one song per episode sung by a street performer), its also bright and really not too bad in a folksy type of way. The ED song was lovely, though. Unfortunately, it’s just not enough to save this one.

The story? Well, the generals follow the original. Magic isn’t feared, and you have to get the equivilent of a degree to use it, just like for any other professional job. And those who are licenses must grant the wishes of anyone who asks. For the first eight episodes it’s light-hearted and sweet, with characters that are, well, stock characters- light. Sora is your average sweet-natured magical girl trying to become a mage. And her dad is dead. That’s really all there is to her! There’s no depth to her character. None of the other characters are any better- her love interest is struggling with himself, since his father is a mage and he doesn’t like his father. The classmates are one-dimensional (though there was a story arc going into one of their backgrounds/struggles, but that was really unnecessary due to the time constraints, and didn’t help the main characters at all).

So there’s really not much depth to them, but since that’s also the nature of the story, well… If you read the synopsis, then you have the plot. They go to class, learn how to help pepole with their magic, fail at some things, achieve others, save a few dolphins along the way- you know, what they normally do in this sort of show. But then the story gets depressing. At episode 9 something happens that throws the whole feeling off and it never really gets better. It was abrupt and unforeseen, and really causes some unnecessary mood whiplash.

The ending is depressing and, quite frankly, you know its coming, they TELL you it’s coming, but that doesn’t make it any better. Best way to describe it is WTF?! While it may add ‘drama’ to the story, it feels forced, like the writers decided at the last minute that they didn’t like the main character and this was the most logical and dramatic way to get rid of her.

Overall, I would stick with the originals and pass up this terrible excuse for a drama.

Recommended: NO! Ugh. If you must, 13+, as the scene that causes all the unnecessary drama seems sexual (but is not! It just appears that way from the viewpoint of one of our mains), and lasts a few moments.

Other titles you might enjoy:
Someday’s Dreamers (anime or manga)
Aria (manga and anime)
Ballad of a Shinigami (anime and manga)
Someday’s Dreamers ~Spellbound~ (manga)
Kamichu! (anime or manga)
Natsume’s Book of Friends (anime or manga)
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (anime)
Yotsuba&! (manga)


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. beneaththetangles
    May 23, 2011 @ 05:07:42

    I browsed through your review (I didn't want to spoil myself, as I'm planning on watching the series), and I'm disappointed that you didn't like it! I've been looking forward to watching the series. I've just started on the original, but I accidentally watched the first episode of this sequel first, and I thought that episode was wonderful. Blah, we'll see.


  2. Sweetpea
    May 23, 2011 @ 12:39:36

    Actually, this is a very old review (I wrote it for another site a few years back), so I'm wondering if I wouldn't be more forgiving of it. Not for the terrible mood whiplash and out-of-nowhere drama, but for the rest of it. I think my disappointment in the ending colored my opinion of the rest of the series.


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